A/N: We will be having a brief three week hiatus following this ep before finishing off the final episodes of the season. We thank you for your continued readership and hope to see you soon!
It was a monumentally crappy thing to do, walking out on Dean like that, and Sam knew it. He had to go and try to stop the impending disaster at the dam. Being honest, Sam shouldn't even be here alive and well. Dean needed to get his ulcer healed and he wasn't going to do that running around after people too silly to get out of the way of a dangerous situation.
Sam didn't see himself coming back. Dean would be fine, eventually, Bobby would see to that. It's what Sam tried telling himself the entire run to the dam. He tried but he wasn't successful. The horrible truth was Dean wouldn't be fine anymore than Sam would be if they're positions were reversed.
Stretching his legs even farther, Sam concentrated on the burn of his thigh muscles and ache of his lungs. It was what drove him farther from the hospital and the brother he desperately wanted to return to. Alistair had hurt them both far deeper than either wanted to admit: cracked open vicious gaps in each brother's sense of security and drove home how vulnerable they really were. Sam would have liked nothing better than to turn around and go straight back to his brother, stay with him every minute until he was mended and beyond that time. It was the only place in the world Sam felt at peace and protected.
However, doing that would condemn a few dozen people to possible death. Maybe it was what they deserved, wandering around a dam in the wake of an earthquake, but neither he nor Dean would be able to look in the mirror every morning without being consumed with guilt, even if Dean didn't want to admit it right now.
Sam wanted to go back to the hospital and be safe with Dean.
He couldn't, so, he toughed it up and ran faster.
When he reached the dam base, Sam didn't slow down. Grabbing the railing he swung onto the steps, taking them four at a time to the door situated at the top, Sam stopped only long enough to yank on it, relieved when it popped open immediately. Inside was washed in shadows and the sound of machinery hit him almost at once, as did the smell of water.
Hesitating for a minute to decide which way to go, Sam followed a row of monitors displaying the pressure and output of the dam. Scattered among the monitors were valves and levers.
Everything looked fine, there were no chunks falling out of the dam, not from Sam's vantage point inside the monitoring area. He sprinted through to where he saw a man standing near the opposite end and a door. Through the window, beyond the door, Sam could see the dam.
Rushing up to the man, Sam was talking before he stopped running. "Excuse me, sir, I need to find whoever is in charge here." His words were more panted out between inhaling gulps of air and trying to steady his breathing.
The man turned and coolly looked him up and down. Sam realized how he must look to an outsider, breathing like he'd just run a marathon—okay, so he sort of had—hair plastered to his face and sweat dripping off him, eyes probably too wide.
"I'm in charge. What do you want?"
Pointing out at the dam, he tried to sound rational. "Those people out there are all going to be washed away. The dam was damaged. It's going to break."
Shaking his head, the man glanced out the window at the dam then back. "Its integrity is good. I don't see a breech happening."
"Please, you've got to believe me. All those people at the river are going to be underwater in about twenty minutes."
"How do you know and why should I believe you? Do you have any dam engineering experience?"
"No, not really." Sam was getting desperate and desperate times called for the truth. "Well…I…um…I saw it happen," he blurted out. "Please, sir, this whole thing is going to go and we've got to clear everyone out."
"You saw it?"
"Like some kind of heavenly vision?"
The man gave him another visual scrutiny, eyes narrowing. "What are you, some kind of prophet of the Lord, boy?"
Scuffing one toe along the floor, Sam smiled, letting his dimples pop out. He looked down then raised his chin ever so slightly to look at the man from under his soaked and stringy bangs. He could work this. He could so work with this and hoped the flash of embarrassment from what he was about to do made him appear humbled—not like the big dork Dean would call him if he ever found out.
"Simply a humble servant, sir." Sam folded his hands in front of him for effect.
The man's eyebrows shot up to his hairline. His hand landed hard on the back of Sam's shoulder, forcing him forward a step. "Let's get a move on then, boy!" Thank goodness for the Bible Belt.
Sam waited until the man's back was turned before he rolled his eyes, took a deep breath and sprinted after the man chanting a steady plea in his head of please don't let Dean find out. They ran out onto the walkway over the dam, stopping in the middle. There was a clear view for miles of the river and surrounding land about to be flooded. Easily seen was the group of people convening along the river bank, picketing, praying, and what looked like baptizing one another. They were gathered under a small bridge that was likely to be washed away in the next few minutes.
"My jeep is parked over there. We can get to it faster this way." He pointed to a parking lot on the far side and below the dam.
Ignoring the pain his body was screaming at him, Sam followed the man across the dam and to the parking lot. Just as they reached the pavement there was a snap, then a pop, and a second even louder snap.
They stopped and turned in unison to the dam. Sam watched, transfixed by the horror of what was happening, as a vertical crack formed like some alien entity, slithering from the middle up and down at the same time. A few seconds later a twin crack appeared halfway across the dam, followed by a third one.
"Oh crap," the man muttered and shoved Sam at the jeep. "Get in, kid. And you'd better start your prayin'."
Sam climbed into the jeep and hung on as the man gunned the engine and floored it, lurching the jeep forward, fishtailing for a few seconds before it bounced along the riverbank.
The sickening sound of falling concrete was followed by the sound of gallons of water sloshing through the opening and rushing to fill the small river to overflowing and resume its natural course.
"Hang on," the man shouted and the jeep sped forward faster.
"Faster," Sam shouted.
"Got it to the floor now."
The town itself wasn't in as much danger, once the water cleared the bridge and where the people were gathering there was a sharp bend. The town had been built before the dam, so it was farther from the modern bank and closer to where the original bank had been. The floodwaters would seep into the outskirts, but not destroy the entire town.
It would, however, completely obliterate the small bridge and the group of people.
"Crap, crap, crap," the man was frantically turning the wheel, but Sam realized it was doing little good.
He grabbed the jeep's roll bar and swung around to see the ground behind and below them. What he saw was worse than any demon or wendigo. Water churned and frothed, chasing the jeep and overtaking it. The wheels no longer found purchase on the ground and Sam was in the middle of the worst case of hydroplaning he'd ever seen. The jeep was lifted and carried, spinning and tossing with the water.
They were rushing headlong at the group of people.
Sam jerked across the seat and slammed his fist onto the horn.
The jeep twisted around as the water deepened until they were turned completely around. In the next instant it listed to one side then the front end bucked and a wave of water sluiced across the inside of the jeep. Sam clung to the roll bar and tried to pull his torso straighter and up. The jeep suddenly bottomed out, plunging the front end completely under water.
Gasping and sputtering for air, Sam managed to pull himself up far enough he wasn't under the water anymore. He was also alone in the jeep. Twisting one way then the other, Sam searched for the man, but didn't see him. The people had obviously heard the horn and were scattering, racing up hill toward higher ground and the town.
Wiping water out of his eyes Sam gagged and sputtered, trying to keep his head above the liquid onslaught and find a way out. The small bridge loomed ahead and it was miraculously still intact.
Standing until he balanced on the seat, Sam wound one arm around the roll bar and leaned forward and to the side, other arm outstretched to grab the bridge. The water had raised the jeep high enough it looked like he could get onto the bridge and away from the flood. Waiting until he was almost underneath before letting go of the roll bar, Sam jumped.
His fingers wrapped around the wet metal and he used the roll bar of the jeep to kick off from, boosting himself higher onto the under bridge framework. His fingers ached and his shoulders screamed, protesting how his weight pulled on them, but he managed to get one arm hooked over a support beam. Sputtering from the water spraying up his nose and in his mouth, Sam gritted his teeth and swung his legs onto the next beam.
"SAM!" From out of nowhere Dean's voice hit Sam's ears along with another sound that made Sam think of the beating of giant wings. Someone was issuing orders out of what sounded like a bullhorn, only it was above him, not at ground level.
Pushing curiosity about the odd noises and positioning of voices, he focused and managed a look around, seeing Dean running toward the flood. The bridge groaned, then moved. Another loud rumble was heard as metal scraped over metal and the entire bridge swung sideways.
Terror and panic rose up Sam's throat along with bile. He should have stayed in the jeep. Snorting water out of his nose as he struggled to stay calm and breathe evenly, Sam's stomach dropped away when the end of the bridge was shoved upwards and listed almost immediately to one side. A wall of water rolled end over end at the bridge and Sam.
The wave hit him full force in the chest, ripping him away from the bridge. A split second later he saw it slice through the water, twisted and crumpled. Somehow he bobbed to the surface in time to see another wave of water whoosh at him. The last thing he saw before it hit him was Dean splashing into the water from the bank, his voice barely heard above the din of the raging flood.
"So help me, Bob, if you don't get your ass here right now, I'll chew my hand off to get out of these cuffs!" Dean snarled to the room. He would have much preferred to shout, but he didn't want that anal retentive doctor coming to check on him. For effect Dean yanked on the cuffs making his bed rail rattle. "Bastard, I can hear you, I know you can hear me."
"Fine. Yes. I can hear you. So can every other angel in a four hundred dimension radius." Bob appeared, hands on hips, looking plenty annoyed.
Coughing, Dean waved him closer. Bob eyed him suspiciously, but stepped closer when Dean mumbled, shook his head and grasped his throat. Leaning in, Bob put his ear closer to Dean's mouth.
Resisting the urge to snicker, Dean's hand shot out and he fisted Bob's shirt collar and shook—hard. "Get me out of here and to my brother and do it now!" Jerking down he toppled Bob over the railing and yanked again on his shirt, making him gag.
"Argh…gah…Dnnn…" Bob got both hands on the bed and pushed away, breaking Dean's grip. He straightened and pulled down on his shirt, adjusting it. "You two are hard on clothes."
Dean wiggled around on the bed until he slid down far enough he could reach his cuffed arm and started to bite at his skin. "I swear I'll do it."
"Oh, for pete's sake stop that." Bob got two fingers under Dean's chin and pushed him back, pulling his hand away fast when Dean snapped at him.
"Sam is out there, alone. He saw a dam bursting and people getting killed and took off to try and stop it. I have to get him. I can't…" his words faded away. Tugging on the handcuff again, Dean glared at Bob. He burped and rolled to his side, folding in on himself.
"I know where Sam is. Dean, you're sick. You have a bleeding ulcer and need it cared for. You sure won't do your brother a lot of good like this."
"Take me to him. Now." Dean panted away the sharp burn searing through his middle.
"You're too sick."
"Then fix me. It's Sam out there. If I don't get to him I don't think he's coming back."
"You should have more faith in your brother."
"I have plenty of faith in my brother. It's the rest of the world I don't trust. Bob, I need to get there. He's my brother."
Sighing Bob nodded. He touched the handcuffs and they dropped away. "I don't know how to cure you. I'm sorry, I flunked anatomy. But, I'll try." He gently laid one hand on Dean's forehead and drew in a deep breath. "I can probably do something temporary, but afterwards you'll have to let the doctors do their job."
Dean gritted his teeth and nodded. He felt a tingle then a warmth surged through him replacing the sting and burn his stomach had become. He took a few deep breaths and sat up straighter. Rubbing one hand over his solar plexus he swung his legs over the edge of the bed, nodding. "So far, so good." Sliding off the bed, his bare feet hit the cold floor and Dean looked down. "Gimme a second to change."
He sprinted across the room to the closet his clothes were in and then ducked into the bathroom, out a few minutes later fully dressed. "Let's get a move on."
Bob simply nodded once, took Dean's arm in one hand and said, "okay, but I'm not going to be responsible when Sam becomes angry. Hold your breath."
When Dean shut his eyes he was in a hospital room. The next sensation to hit him was a collection of roars coming from everywhere, people screaming, someone demanding the riverbank be cleared via a bullhorn and what sounded like a huge faucet gone berserk and the sound of metal being ripped apart. He opened his eyes to find himself standing on the edge of the river, though it was deeper and faster than earlier, much wider, too.
The oddest noise was what sounded to Dean like a fan whirring through the air. One look up and he couldn't help grinning. Three helicopters flew in a triangle formation just yards off the ground. Some people were dropping out of them and heading toward the crowd, ushering them away. One guy was leaning out of the lead helicopter, bullhorn in hand, telling everyone to clear out.
Uh, yeah, duh.
He caught a glimpse of Sam, clinging to a mangled bridge. A mangled and moving bridge. Shouting to his brother, Dean ran at the water. The bridge tipped, looking like a ship upending into the ocean and with a loud bone chilling snap twisted to one side and dropped. Sam's terrified gaze met his for one brief instant before the water hit him and flowed over him, plunging him into the murky, churning, flooded river.
Dean charged forward, splashing into the shallow water near the edge, then wading deeper. He saw Sam flailing helplessly against the current, popping up only to be dragged down and washed further away. Swinging around when something grabbed his shoulder and pulled, Dean came face to face with Bob. It was too loud to talk, but Dean got the message. Bob pointed to the mangled bridge.
The words use it came across loud and clear followed by believe in yourself and what you can do.
Staring at him for no more than a few seconds, Dean nodded, took a deep breath and moved steadily toward the remains of the bridge. It was only loose at one end, the other still firmly embedded in the ground now under water. He got to it and climbed out on top of it then began rocking back and forth. The shifting of his weight shifted the bridge and bent it so it was now going with the flow of water, not blocking it.
Feet planted wide, hands gripping the girders, Dean rocked with more force. The bridge let loose entirely and sailed downstream, right behind Sam. It was nearly impossible to see with dirty water being sprayed up, but somehow Dean managed to catch glimpses of his brother. He was no longer trying to swim out of the raging river, but being tossed and thrown like debris.
If Sam wasn't completely unconscious he was damn close.
Leaning forward made the bridge move along faster until he was finally within grasping distance of Sam's leg. Hooking one arm and one knee around a girder, Dean reached out and gripped Sam's jeans, pulling him in. Making sure he had a good grip on the bridge with his leg, Dean threw his other hand at Sam, latching onto his belt.
Gritting his teeth and grunting Dean pulled back and hauled his kid brother up, getting one arm around his chest, Dean shoved himself backwards and used his other hand to hang onto the bridge again and ease them both onto it.
"Sammy," Dean whispered, tapping lightly on his brother's cheek. "Come on, dude, breathe or hit me or something." Sam coughed and lurched to one side, vomiting water in huge retching spasms that made Dean's ribs hurt. "I'll take that." He maneuvered Sam up farther and held him tightly against his own body.
Bob was on the ground waving both hands with thumbs up in the air. Dean waved back. The bridge took a sharp left and careened toward the shoreline. Dean curled around his brother, hanging on tightly to Sam and the girders until the bridge came to a stop. It'd gone from the water to the ground far too rapidly, nearly knocking Dean off his feet and them to the ground. How he'd managed to hang on to it and Sam was beyond him, and honestly, he didn't care. The important thing was he and Sam were alive and mostly well.
Bob should have known better, he really should have. He was a thousands-of-years-old entity and a holy one at that. Yet, apparently he was dumber than dirt some days.
Whatever possessed him—that was it, he could blame it on some demon—to sit in a hospital room with these two…two…Bob wasn't sure anymore what they were. Well, yes, he actually was. They were annoying is what they were. To borrow a very human and very accurate phrase, they were annoying as Hell. Bob was pretty sure Hell was a darned annoying place what with demons poking at souls all the time.
By the time they'd gotten back to the hospital Dean was bent over, moaning and groaning like a drunken prom date and walking and spitting like an old bum. Sam was clinging to him, not that the kid had much choice since Dean wouldn't let go, and every few minutes he'd urp up more river water. It'd gotten to the point that Bob wondered how there was any left outside of Sam to cause a flood.
Actually, the entire thing was disgusting.
The fracas that ensued when the hospital staff tried to take Sam for x-rays and treatment so he didn't develop complications from having his lungs full of water and others tried to get Dean into surgery before his insides exploded was entertainment beyond words. Before Bob intervened and calmed everyone down with his awesome angelness there had been two downed orderlies—one from Dean, one because of Sam—three broken gurneys—that was all Dean's doing, Sam was innocent—an over turned blood collection cart—Sam—and one hospital guard put through a glass door. Bob wasn't actually sure which brother did that, but he suspected one of the gurneys was broken in the process of the guard being tossed out of the room. So it would have been on Dean's score card.
It was good to be an angel and put right what went wrong. Or at least keep two ornery young hunters from ending up on their asses in jail.
He deftly sidestepped the green shimmering mass in the cup that came at him. Sam called it jello. Bob had to go with Dean on this one; it was gross.
"Dude, your bed is right there, two feet farther from my bed than that damn chair. You can't rest up and get well sitting in this stupid, plastic torture device." Dean snapped out, waving two fingers at the other bed in the room.
Sam's face morphed into what Bob had come to learn was referred to by Dean as the supreme Sammy bitch-face. The title was accurate. Bob wondered why he was still sitting here with these two. They weren't very good company right now. In fact he doubted either one realized he existed at the moment.
"You almost died. I'm not going anywhere," Sam ground out, his last words contorted into a wet, hacking cough. "Eat your jello, don't throw it."
"Eat your oatmeal." Dean shot back. When Sam lifted the spoon out of the pasty looking stuff in a bowl and let it glop back down they all burped. "Okay, maybe not," Dean conceded, "that's just nasty." He pushed farther up until he was sitting. "Sam, now, get in your bed and rest. You can still die from all that water you sucked down."
"'m not dyin'," Sam groused and shifted the chair closer to Dean's bed. "And 'm not leavin' either."
Dean sighed and looked over at Bob who shrugged. "Hey, would you do me a favor and move his bed closer?"
Bob was apparently a sap on top of being dumber than dirt. He nodded and shoved the bed until it came to rest against Sam's chair. Sam glared at them both, Bob wasn't entirely sure he didn't bare his teeth, too. However, he did abandon the chair, letting Bob move it to the other side of the room, and climb into the bed.
"What happened to that man in the jeep with me?" Sam finally asked.
Bob's gaze met Dean's, they both knew the subject would come up, but they were both hoping it wouldn't be so soon. "I'm sorry, Sam, he was welcomed into the light."
Sam looked down and picked at the sheet over his legs.
"Everyone else was fine though." Dean leaned over the side of his bed and reached across the empty space between them to slap at Sam's arm. The simple gesture seemed to relax Sam. "How did you convince him the dam was going to go?"
"He told the man he was a prophet of the Lord," Bob piped up. The bitch-face got bitchier.
Dean laughed uproariously. "You big dork!"
"You know that doctor said you had to stay calm until you healed or you'd get sick again." Sam folded his arms over his chest, stared straight ahead and looked for all the world like a petulant toddler.
"Did you do your breathing therapy? The same doctor said you had to do it every two hours." Dean was obviously oblivious to the giant toddler, or maybe not, Bob couldn't decide. Either way it was a battle neither would win and neither would lose.
"I will when you learn to eat what you're supposed to," Sam shot back.
"I'll tell on you to her. I remember how much you two loved each other. I'll do it, Sam." Dean settled back against the pillows, grinning.
Sam blew out a long breath and grabbed a piece of tubing sitting beside his bed, blasting air into it and sucking it back out again with a vengeance. When Dean chuckled, Sam did it again, only louder.
Bob rubbed the back of his neck and backed away and began fading from this plane. Their bickering lingered, Sam complaining because Dean wouldn't do what he was told to get better and Dean snapping and groaning that Sam wouldn't listen to the doctors.
Yep, Bob must be dumber than dirt. The fate of this world was on them. One guy who was forced to eat green snot from a bowl and the other who couldn't say two words without hacking up muddy water? Both too concerned with the other one to take care of himself. Yet, somehow he felt at ease that it was the right decision. Only time would tell.